10 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods with our Most Affordable Pick

Puppies grow up fast, but with large-breed puppies, it often seems as if they will never stop growing. Some breeds take anywhere from 12 to 24 months to mature, leaving you to wonder what the best option is for feeding.

All puppies have the same basic nutritional requirements for things like protein, fat, and essential nutrients. There are some differences, however, when it comes to the specifics about large-breed puppies versus small and medium breed puppies.

In this article, we’ll explore the subject of large-breed puppy food in depth. We’ll talk about the nutritional needs of puppies as well as the needs of large-breed puppies in particular. We’ll also tell you what to look for in large breed puppy food vs. regular puppy food and show you our top picks.

What Do You Need to Know About Puppy Nutrition?

All dogs need a balance of protein, fat, and essential nutrients in their diet. For puppies, protein needs are higher during the growth and development stage. Fat provides a concentrated source of calories to fuel your puppy’s growth as well. Both of these nutrients are best when they come from animal sources because they are more biologically valuable than plant products.

Your puppy needs a minimum of 22% protein in his diet and at least 8% fat. These values go down slightly after the puppy stops growing, but protein will always be the most important nutrient in your puppy’s diet. Fat provides energy and improves your puppy’s ability to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. You should also make sure your puppy gets some fiber for healthy nutrition but avoid foods that are too high in carbohydrates, particularly hard-to-digest grains like corn and wheat.

On top of protein, fat, and fiber, your puppy also needs certain vitamins and minerals in his diet. Most commercial puppy foods are formulated to provide for the puppy’s nutritional needs, but it never hurts to check. Things like calcium and phosphorus are essential for bone and joint health, while DHA is essential for brain development. All you really need to look for is the AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy on the label to indicate that the product is complete and balanced for puppies.

How Does Large Breed Puppy Nutrition Differ?

The basic nutritional requirements for puppies are the same across the board, but there are some slight differences in large breed puppy food vs. regular puppy food.

When it comes to protein, large breed puppies have slightly higher requirements because developing lean muscle mass is essential for their long-term health. You want to avoid letting your large-breed puppy grow too quickly because overgrowth could put him at risk for musculoskeletal issues later in life. The best puppy food for large breeds will be rich in high-quality animal protein, providing a minimum of 22% but ideally more.

You also need to be mindful of the fat content of your puppy’s food. High fat content equals high calorie content, which can contribute to rapid growth. Most large breed puppy foods contain controlled levels of fat and calories to ensure slow and steady growth.

Another difference in large breed puppy food is in the calcium and phosphorus content. For most puppies, a ratio of 1:1 up to 2:1 calcium to phosphorus is ideal for healthy bones and joints, but it is important to avoid excessive amounts of these nutrients in large breed puppies to reduce the risk for bone and joint problems.

What to Look for in Large Breed Puppy Food

Now that you have a better understanding of your puppy’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start looking for the best puppy food for large breeds. Remember, all puppies have the same basic needs for protein and fat, but there are some slight differences between large breed dog food vs. regular dog food.

Here are some things to look for in a large breed puppy food:

  • High-quality animal protein. Protein is the most important nutrient for any dog, but particularly for growing puppies. It should come from animal sources and be the first ingredient on the list.
  • Moderate fat content. Fat provides a concentrated source of calories to fuel your puppy’s growth, but it should be low-to-moderate to prevent overgrowth.
  • Highly digestible. The higher the quality of the ingredients in your puppy’s food, the more digestible it will be. Fiber is a beneficial addition, but don’t let the carb content go too high.
  • Essential vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet is essential for healthy growth and development, but certain nutrients need to be controlled. Look for essential vitamins and minerals but make sure the recipe isn’t too high in calcium and phosphorus.
  • Beneficial supplements. On top of essential vitamins and minerals, your puppy can also benefit from certain supplements. Probiotics support healthy digestion while glucosamine and chondroitin can be added for bone and joint support.

With all of the knowledge you need to understand your puppy’s nutritional needs, you’re ready to start shopping! If you’re still not quite sure where to look, keep reading to see our top 10 picks for the best puppy food for large breed puppies.

The 10 Best Large Breed Puppy Foods

The best puppy food for large breeds will provide for your puppy’s basic nutritional requirements through the use of healthy, high-quality ingredients. It will be rich in protein for lean mass and muscle development with controlled levels of fat and calories. It should also be highly digestible and nutritionally complete and balanced.

Here’s our top pick for the best large breed puppy food:

NomNomNow Fresh Food Delivery Service

Overall Best Large Breed Puppy Food: It is important to control your large-breed puppy’s growth, but that control shouldn’t come at the expense of his health and wellness. Though you need to limit your dog’s caloric intake, high-quality animal protein is still the priority, and fresh ingredients offer the highest digestibility. NomNomNow is a fresh food delivery service and our top pick for the best large breed puppy food. Made with wholesome, natural ingredients, this fresh food is portioned perfectly for your puppy’s age, breed, and size to meet his nutritional needs without any unnecessary additives. Simply fill out a profile online, select a recipe, and let NomNomNow figure out exactly how many calories your dog needs. Then, you simply wait for your first delivery and start feeding your dog!

  • Pros: Fresh food made from wholesome natural ingredients, perfectly portioned for dog’s calorie needs, no artificial additives, several recipes to choose from, automatic monthly deliveries
  • Cons: Very expensive compared to commercial dry food, formulas are not specific to breed size

Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula

Most Popular Large Breed Puppy Food: Sometimes it can be difficult to choose a dog food, especially so many options out there. If you’re not sure where to look, it never hurts to go with a popular brand like Taste of the Wild. This brand offers a wide variety of grain-free, protein-rich recipes for dogs, including two puppy recipes. Though not specifically formulated for large breed puppies, the Taste of the Wild High Prairie Puppy Formula is a great option because it is rich in lean protein with moderate fat and calorie content to fuel your puppy’s growth and development. It features fresh buffalo and lamb meal as the top two ingredients with supplemental protein from roasted bison, venison, and beef. It is rich in omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat with probiotics for healthy digestion.

  • Pros: Rich in lean animal protein, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, blend of omega fatty acids, probiotics for healthy digestion, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Not specifically for large-breed puppies, contains some plant protein (pea protein)

American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Recipe

Most Affordable Large Breed Puppy Food: Finding a high-quality puppy food can be expensive, but this American Journey Chicken & Sweet Potato Grain-Free Large Breed Puppy Recipe is a great option. Not only is it very affordable, but it is formulated for large breed puppies and is made with wholesome, natural ingredients. This recipe features real chicken as the main ingredient with supplemental protein from chicken meal, turkey meal, and menhaden fish meal. It contains digestible grain-free carbohydrates like chickpeas and sweet potatoes with plenty of supplemental fiber for healthy digestion. It is supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies to provide natural sources for key nutrients but is still supplemented for nutritional balance. Overall, your puppy will love the real chicken flavor, and you’ll love that it supports his healthy growth and development without going overboard on calories.

  • Pros: Formulated for large breed puppies, real chicken first ingredient, digestible grain-free carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, probiotics
  • Cons: Contains some plant protein (pea protein)

Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Recipe with Real Chicken

Best Large Breed Puppy Food for Sensitive Stomach: If your large-breed puppy has a sensitive stomach, the digestibility of his diet is very important. Wholesome, natural ingredients should be the foundation with plenty of lean protein and moderate fat content for energy. We like this Nature’s Variety Instinct Raw Boost Large Breed Puppy Recipe with Real Chicken because it features high-protein kibble mixed with freeze-dried raw pieces of real chicken. It is a protein-packed recipe that contains only 15.5% fat with plenty of fiber and probiotics for healthy digestion. This recipe features real chicken as the first ingredient with a blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. It contains fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients but is still supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure nutritional balance. Overall, it is a rich source of high-quality nutrition and loaded with real chicken flavor.

  • Pros: High-protein kibble with freeze-dried raw bites, highly digestible, wholesome natural ingredients, real chicken first ingredient, fresh fruits and vegetables, probiotics, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Not a limited ingredient diet, not a single-source protein recipe

6 More Top-Rated Large Breed Puppy Foods

If the large-breed puppy foods reviewed above don’t seem like the perfect fit, no worries! Here are a few more options to consider:

Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken Recipe

Your large breed puppy deserves the best, and this Nutro Wholesome Essentials Large Breed Puppy Farm-Raised Chicken Recipe is a great option. Not only does it feature real farm-raised chicken as the main ingredient, but it is supplemented with digestible whole-grain carbohydrates including brown rice and sorghum. It contains plenty of supplemental fiber for healthy digestion and contains dried fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients. This recipe is rich in glucosamine and chondroitin to support your growing puppy’s bones and joints, plus it is limited in fat and calories to keep him from growing too fast. It still contains plenty of lean protein (26%) and is supplemented with vitamins and chelated minerals to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

  • Pros: Real chicken first ingredient, formulated for large breed puppies, supplemental glucosamine and chondroitin, digestible whole grains, dried fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some puppies may be sensitive)

Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice & Salmon Meal Recipe

If your large-breed puppy doesn’t have a problem tolerating grains, this Wellness Large Breed Complete Health Puppy Deboned Chicken, Brown Rice & Salmon Meal Recipe is a great choice. Featuring several premium animal proteins like fresh chicken and salmon meal, this recipe supports your puppy’s healthy growth and development without going overboard on calories or fat. It features digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like brown rice and oatmeal, with supplemental fiber for healthy digestion. You’ll also find this recipe to be packed with fresh fruits and vegetables to provide natural sources for key nutrients with vitamin and chelated mineral supplements to ensure complete and balanced nutrition. Overall, it provides 29% protein with just 13% fat and 366 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Rich in lean animal protein, digestible whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated mineral supplements, moderate protein and fat content, probiotics for digestion
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some puppies may be sensitive)

Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula Dry Food

Wholesome, natural ingredients are the foundation of a healthy diet for any dog. This Precise Holistic Complete Large & Giant Breed Puppy Formula Dry Food is a great option because it is made with natural ingredients in a holistic formula designed to nourish your puppy’s body and support his healthy growth and development. It features real chicken as the first ingredient with chicken, lamb, and salmon meals to deliver a powerful punch of protein. It contains prebiotics and probiotics for healthy digestion, with a blend of omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat. You’ll also be glad to know that it is supplemented with glucosamine and chondroitin for healthy bones and joints as well as DHA for brain development. Overall, it provides 23% protein and 12% fat with 400 calories per cup.

  • Pros: Formulated for large and giant breeds, rich in lean animal protein, highly digestible, prebiotics and probiotics, fresh fruits and vegetables, chelated minerals, glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some puppies may be sensitive)

Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dry Food

If you’re looking for a simple source of quality nutrition for your large-breed puppy, consider this Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy Dry Food. This formula features an ideal blend of wholesome, natural ingredients in a protein-rich recipe to support healthy growth and development. It features lamb meal as the first ingredient and a concentrated source of animal protein with chicken meal for support, It contains digestible whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, with plenty of fiber and probiotics to support healthy and regular digestion. You’ll be glad to know that it contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint support with controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus. Plus, it is complete and nutritionally balanced with plenty of antioxidants for healthy immunity.

  • Pros: Lamb meal as first ingredient, whole-grain carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables, glucosamine and chondroitin, complete and balanced, rich in antioxidants, chelated minerals
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some puppies may be sensitive)

Canidae Grain-Free PURE Puppy Real Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe Dry Food

Your growing puppy deserves a healthy source of high-quality nutrition. This Canidae Grain-Free PURE Puppy Real Chicken, Lentil & Whole Egg Recipe Dry Food is a great option, even though it is not specifically formulated for large breeds. It features real chicken as the first ingredient and contains just 9 main ingredients to reduce the risk of triggering food allergies and sensitivities. This formula is completely free from grains, including wheat and corn, plus it contains vitamins and chelated minerals for complete and balanced nutrition. It is made only with whole foods to ensure optimal nutrition and easy digestion, with no artificial additives or preservatives. Overall, it provides 30% protein with 12% fat, a ratio appropriate for large breeds. Just be mindful of the high-calorie content when feeding your pup.

  • Pros: Made with just 9 main ingredients, real chicken first ingredient, highly digestible, chelated minerals for nutritional balance, probiotic supplements, 30% protein and 12% fat
  • Cons: Not formulated for large breeds, may be too high in calories for some dogs

Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe

When it comes to high-quality nutrition for your large breed puppy, holistic dog food is a great option. Recipes like this Holistic Select Large & Giant Breed Puppy Health Lamb Meal & Oatmeal Recipe rely on wholesome, natural ingredients to deliver complete and balanced nutrition with maximum digestibility. This particular recipe features lamb meal and chicken meal as the top two ingredients, with digestible whole-grain carbohydrates like oatmeal and brown rice for energy and fiber. It contains fresh fruits and vegetables for antioxidants and to act as natural sources for key nutrients, with vitamins and chelated mineral supplements to ensure completely and balanced nutrition. You’ll also be glad to know that this recipe is supplemented with fiber and probiotics for digestion and contains controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus to reduce your dog’s risk of bone and joint issues in adulthood.

  • Pros: Formulated for large and giant breeds, rich in real animal protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, blend of omega fatty acids, chelated minerals, fiber and probiotics for digestion
  • Cons: Not a grain-free recipe (some puppies may be sensitive), not a single-source protein recipe

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the difference in large breed puppy food? – The primary concern with large-breed puppies is steady growth. If your puppy grows too fast, the excess weight could put strain on his developing muscles and joints, increasing his risk for musculoskeletal diseases later in life. Large breed puppy food contains controlled levels of fat and calories to prevent rapid growth as well as controlled levels of calcium and phosphorus for bone health. It should still be rich in protein, highly digestible, and nutritionally balanced like any other puppy food.
  2. How long should a large breed puppy stay on puppy food? – The general rule for puppies is that they should eat puppy food for the first 12 months. This is usually enough time for the puppy to reach its adult size, at which point it should be eating adult dog food. Things can be a little tricky with large breeds, however, because they may take more than a year to develop. In fact, many large and giant breed puppies don’t reach their full size until 18 to 24 months. You can ask your veterinarian for advice, but another option is to feed your puppy his puppy food until he reaches 80% of his expected adult size. At that point, his growth should be slowing down along with his calorie needs, so it may be an appropriate time to switch to adult food.
  3. How much should I feed my large breed puppy? – The amount you feed your large breed puppy depends on several factors. Not only do you need to consider his age, breed, and body weight, but you also need to know his expected adult size. With large-breed puppies, there is a risk of growing too fast, so you want to avoid overfeeding. The best thing to do is start with a large-breed puppy food and follow the feeding recommendations on the package. Keep in mind that you may need to change your puppy’s portion as he grows, so recheck his weight as well as the feeding recommendations every few weeks.
  4. How many times a day should I feed my large breed puppy? – Most dogs do well with two meals a day, but growing puppies sometimes need more. With large-breed puppies, however, you want to avoid overgrowth, so you need to keep your puppy on a steady meal schedule with consistent portions. Two meals a day should be sufficient, though very young puppies may need additional food during the first few months when they are growing most quickly.
  5. What is considered a large breed puppy? – Generally speaking, large breed dogs are those that weigh more than 50 pounds at maturity. A large breed puppy, then, would be a breed that has an expected adult weight over 50 pounds. Breeds that weigh more than 90 pounds at maturity are sometimes called giant breeds.

All puppies need a healthy, high-quality diet to fuel their growth and development. For large-breed puppies, however, certain nutrients are more important. Your puppy needs a diet rich in lean protein to support lean muscle mass with moderate fat and calorie content to control his growth. Keep feeding your puppy a puppy food diet until he reaches 80% his adult size or as recommended by your vet.

Choosing a puppy food can be hard, but we’re here to help! If you’re not sure where to start in feeding your large-breed puppy, try one of our top picks for the best large breed puppy food reviewed above.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *